Minimal age for 24h racing- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Minimal age for 24h racing

    Hi, there!

    I was wondering:
    I see a lot of older racers dominating the endurance races especially the 12 and 24h races.
    I'm only 20y old, but I'm looking to specialize in this particular discipline. Am I just gonna get beat up by all the older guys or does being young have any advantages in a race of this size? If so, is there any way I can maximize the advantage? Or am I just overthinking things?

  2. #2
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    Your endurance peak isn't really till your mid 30s. You can compete and be competitive but older peeps will always have the edge on you. Real world example no one under 30 has ever won an ironman event

  3. #3
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    Guido - If that's what you want to do then don't worry about the age thing. Your probably right at your physical peak so if you train right you should be able to do very good at endurance races. It may take a few years of racing and training to get to a competitive level but I think it's easier the younger you start.

    My son did his first 12 hr solo race when he was 14 and did respectable (90 miles in 11 hrs). He's done several 12 hr races since and at 16 he's dominating the SS class in our local 12 hr series this season.

    Good Luck!

  4. #4
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    I think the reason the high-caliber endurance guys are typically older is because of two main reasons:
    1. Endurance racing requires a huge base, which can take years to develop (to the level you need to be competitive).
    2. Endurance racing requires a lot more mental stamina than typical xc racing, which comes with age.

    That being said, the two guys who took first and second in this year’s 24 hours of Nine Mile were 20 and 19 years old (or thereabouts). So if you can handle it at a young age, and you enjoy the strategies of endurance racing, then go for it. You'll get better with experience.

  5. #5
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    James Williamson (2008 24Hrs of Adrenalin World Solo 24Hr Champion) won that race when he was 25, won the Australian 24Hr Champs when he was 23, was 2nd to Craig Gordon in the Australian Champs when he was 22 and was winning 12Hr races here well before that.

    But - it is unusual for a rider that age to achieve that. But Willo is unusual too That's him on the first splash page for the 2009 Scott 24Hr down here.

    Jason English (2009 24Hrs of Adrenalin World Solo 24Hr Champion and 2nd in 2008) was 28 when he won the worlds this year and Craig Gordon was 29 when he won in 2006. So, those two are getting to be more of the "traditional" age bracket.

    Things previously mentioned like mental maturity to go with physical maturity are very important.

    In Australia, we also have rules about what age you must be to enter an endurance race as a solo rider. They are (minimum age on day the race starts):
    . 12Hr to 24Hr - 18
    . 8Hr to 12Hr - 17
    . 4Hr to 8Hr - 16
    . Marathon (100Km) - 18
    . Half Marathon (50Km) - 16

  6. #6
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    yeah, I think the old feeling was that it took years to really build up the base, so your body is capable of training the number of hours required, and also more developed to withstand the punishment during the race.

    Another example of young guys doing well, is the ultra running scene (running races about 100 miles), which was typically older guys in thirties and even 40s, but recently younger people (under 25) have started to do well and break course records.

    I mean there is always an example of an exception to the rule. I think all it comes down to how much you enjoy the sport, and want to train that many hours. When I was 20 and at school, I spent my Saturday mornings being hungover, and not out on a 5 hour ride, but that was my choice. However, now, I'd rather being doing that than fighting a wicked hangover.

  7. #7
    Yeah, I'll Ride That
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    Sure there are some advantages to being in the more traditional age bracket for endurance sports, but who cares, if it's what you enjoy go and rip it up. I did my first Ironman when I was 18 because that was the minimum age. No I wasn't world champ, but I had fun. The main advantage that comes with age anyway is the mental toughness. However also remember that a young body bounces back faster. There are advantages on both sides of the fence.

  8. #8
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    don't forget that perhaps often older riders have more means to travel, focus on, and practice bike racing. At least when I was 20, there were plenty of distractions around to keep me off a bike and less than optimally fit.

    At least thats been my experience. On the other hand, those guys in their thirties sometimes end up with kids, over-priced mortgage, and home repair, so maybe less training time...

    If you can start now, more power to you! Good luck!

  9. #9
    A guy on a bike Moderator
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    You're never too old--or too young--to have fun giving it your best. So get out there and have some fun!

  10. #10
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    Thanks, guys! You really got me stoked!
    Let's hope winter will be good to me this year.
    Is there anything you can think of you wish you had known the first time you entered a 24h race? Any advice for a youngin'?

  11. #11
    i also unicycle
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    don't go too crazy riding too hard too early. just have fun and ride your bike. eat well and often. you'll learn a ton your first race, but i think they eating was the thing i had to figure out the most on my own. that's not to say that i've got it totally figured out.
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
    bikes & beers (on my blog) http://idontrideenough.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
    Yeah, I'll Ride That
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guido Beeck
    Any advice for a youngin'?

    I didn't write any of this, so I'm just passing along some of DH's advice, but there are some gems in here...

    http://teamhealthfx.com/blogs/dave_h...gory/1033.aspx

  13. #13
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    Great info on that blog, carneyam! Thanks a million!

    I'm gonna try 'n get someone to be my assistent for the race, preferably one of my closest friends, someone who'll understand if I start b_tchin' at anyone and anything.
    I think it'll be a good idea to have it all planned out as closely as possible, which is tricky with the short circuit we race round here.

    Anyone running a 1x9 setup? I'm thinkin' the less moving parts needed, the better?
    And now for something really dumb: Is there any objection to running a carbon seatpost on races like these?

    I am gonna turn my Seven Sola into the most trustworthy machine possible, because I now have it in full-on XC mode... Pointers?

    You guys rock, givin' me such positive feedback!
    Thanks a million, again!

  14. #14
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    edit double-post

  15. #15
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    Rider Progress Graphs from World Solo 24Hr Champs

    I've posted these before, but might be worth another look.

    These are comparative rider speed-time-lap graphs from the various categories at the 2009 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo 24Hr Championships in Canmore. Some basic explanation:
    . the slope of the graph is the rider's speed
    . a rider's distance ahead/behind of another rider is measured vertically
    . a rider's time ahead/behind to another rider is measured horizontally
    . when the lines cross, riders are overtaking / being overtaken

    The main thing is that you will see is that the winners have incredibly smooth race curves. Consistency (and a plan) pays off.

    You can also notice (Jason English, in winning the Elite Men) how Jason accelerated away from Cary Smith from sunrise on Sunday morning. The Dave Harris blog mentions the demoralising effect this can have on your competition. Cary's race curve follows the trend on Sunday morning, but Jason managed to find something extra and you can see that his race speed actually increases in the 18 to 23 hour period.

    Have a look at how Jess Douglas on page 2 (4th in Elite Women) fell away from the pack on Sunday morning. She had been riding with 2nd and 3rd, but the she fell off the pace.

    Also, Thomas Lindup (New Zealand) was leading U25 (page 4) but some digestive problems at about the 18 hour point effectively ended his race.

    And, finally, diet... The little blip on the Elite Men at about the 14 hours/14 Laps point is the New Zealand rider Tony Hogg. Tony, Jason and Cary had been battling it out all day, but Tony ended up in a major hole, predominantly for diet reasons, and his race came to a grinding halt when he collapsed out on the course with very low blood sugar levels. Get the diet right.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by le Matelot; 09-22-2009 at 02:51 PM.

  16. #16
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    i'm rocking a 1x9 and our local 24 course has some serious steep sections, they don't last that long though. i like it because if i can't turn a 1:1 ratio over easily/give a few quick hard strokes, i'm probably better off walking. at least for a little bit. and with being able to stop and fix things every lap, comfort i think is less critical than mechanically sound. you can have a back up bike but not a back up body; ride a lot and experiment with what's comfortable.
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
    bikes & beers (on my blog) http://idontrideenough.blogspot.com/

  17. #17
    Go Fast, Take Chances.
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    Dezmin Wilder, he's 22 or 23 and is an extremely tough endurance racer(and athlete in general). He has the won the fall 24hrs of Adrenaline at Hurkey Creek the past two years.

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